Working on into Retirement: Gendered Policies, Interactions and Experiences
The policy assumption of the imperative to counter population ageing and governments’ regressive rationalization of income support policies have engendered common OECD policy directives of working longer. Differing forms of employment and retirement have proliferated, including some that have been institutionalized at the policy level, within meso-level organizational processes and negotiated within individual identities. One outcome of these overlapping processes is the re-individualization of risk for income security in old age.
The re-individualization of risk occurs across the divide of work and retirement policies, which lack joined up policies bridging this divide. The session challenges the overly economistic contention that all people must work longer. The presenters examine similarities and differences in work and retirement interactions experienced internationally in North American, certain European countries and in Australia, constructed from national political, socio-economic and organizational contexts, turning a critical feminist lens on later life work. Some factors that enable or compel some older women to work even after usual retirement age may also deepen inequalities between those who choose to work and those with less economic choice. What particular national policies buttress or contest cumulative inequalities associated with work and retirement? What meso-level organisational strategies (e.g. working arrangements, caregiving policies) support the extension of working lives and ‘working after retirement’? At the micro-level, how are extended working lives and retirement interactions negotiated within individual identities? Using a gendered life course framework, the analyses presented in this symposium emphasize the diversity of experiences among older cohorts of workers and retirees.